A Katsina base legal practitioner M.S Mahuta Esq. ACIArb. has taken a hundred million naira legal battle on enforcing his Fundamental Right. The suit which was filed at the Federal High Court Katsina Judicial Division with the Suit No: FHC/KT/CS/5/2017, has the following as the Respondents, Attorney General of Kastina State, Commissioner of Police Katsina State, one ASP Iliyasu (Admin. Officer S. I. B) Police Headquarters Katsina State, Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. Katsina State and Director, Department of State Security Service, Katsina State.
In a 42 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by MAHUTA Esq. himself and which was made available to THENIGERIALAWYER, it was stated that on Tuesday 28th day of March, 2017 the Applicant alongside his two junior colleagues were stopped around the G. R. A round about by officers and men of the 2nd to 5th Respondents because the former Katsina Governor of Katsina State Barr. Ibrahim Shehu Shema had a case in the High Court, the Applicant and his colleagues took another route to Nagwamatse, to his dismay the road was also blocked by men and officers of the Respondents. The Applicant later succeeded to pass through the Nagwamatse with the help of one officer who knew him but unfortunately about 30, officers of the Respondents accosted him and refused him entrance to the court room when he got to the main gate.
It was also stated that some litigants, and lawyers who had matters before various divisions of the High Court complex were refused ingress by the Respondents and have had unpleasant encounters whenever the case involving the former Governor comes up. And that from his chambers to the High Court, he met about 11 check points mounted by the Respondents and that on each occasion the officers harassed and intimated them.
He further avers that in some places most of the roads leading to High Court Katsina were blocked completely and diverted to another route by the Respondents and this has caused delay and late arrival to court by most lawyers, litigants, other interested persons and himself. The Applicant after painstaking, persuasion, diversion of roads, stress and inconveniences , he managed to get to the court but only to be stopped from entering the court room by one Iliyasu, an ASP on the ground that the courtroom was congested. He explained to the Officer that he came for his matter, the second on the cause list and if no case was called out of turn would be heard before the former Governor’s case and there are about one hundred audience in the court already who had no case of their own but only came as spectators in the case against the former Governor.
The officer got angry which led into an argument before he knew it the 5th Respondent’s men came and started tapping him violently on his shoulder, the Applicant told them to stop assaulting but the Respondents went further to insist that he must leave the court premises which the Applicant had to heed to the command. But the unfortunate thing was that Respondents allowed not less than 20 people to enter the courtroom including the former Governor and his entourage.
He also stated that the 5th Respondent’s officer to threatened to break his mobile phone and ordered him and his junior colleagues to the corridor of the court hall stressing that their presence was a nuisance to their official duties. Even when the Deputy Chief Registrar Litigation, pleaded with the Respondents to let the Applicant in, the Respondents refused to budge, threatening to deal with the Applicant.
In the main suit the Applicant is seeking the following reliefs:
A DECLARATION that the acts of the Respondents of depriving the Applicant right of ingress and/or engross to the High Court is illegal, unlawful, oppressive and a deliberate violation of the Applicants fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the FRN.
A DECLARATION that the Respondents have no power either by themselves, agents, privies, servants and any other person whatsoever described, to restrain Legal Practitioners, court officials and any other citizen lawfully conducting himself from entering the High Court of Katsina State for simple reason that a former Governor of the state was on trial.
A DECLARATION that the act of confinement and restraining the Applicant by the 3rd Respondent at the Katsina State High Court premises was unwarranted, unreasonable, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
The Applicant further seeks an order restraining the Respondents, their agents, privies, servants and any other person whatsoever described from further violation of his fundamental rights.
The Applicant is also asking for payment of damages against the Respondents jointly and severally in the sum of One Hundred Millions Naira (100,000,000.00) for breach of his fundamental rights.
The main contention of the Applicant was that whether as a legal practitioner, the police or any other law enforcement agent can refused him access to the court hall where he has a matter on the cause list slated on that date for simple reason that a former governor is on trial. And whether assuming the Applicant has no matter to appear before the court, whether the police or any other law enforcement agents can validly refused him right of access to court because of a pending political case involving a former governor.
The court has adjourned the suit to the 26th June, 2017 for further mention.
This is what the entrance to the court hall looks like in the morning of 28th March, 2017
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria